Mark B
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Getting Started

Mark B
Posted by
27 Jul 2014

First serious attempt on the road

On Friday morning, a good friend was due to arrive at Himley hall having just ridden 140 miles from Nelson in Lancashire in memory of his former partner who died from cancer last year... 

Now some of you may be thinking "Pretty impressive, 140 miles on a bike", others may think "Hmmm 140 miles, OK it's a decent ride, but I regulary do 100 mile ride outs with friends" - but bear in mind - Len is 70, he only started riding again recently, and he did it TOTALLY UNACOMPANIED

In the face of determination like that, I felt it only fitting that I should put some serious effort into starting to get fit for the 52 mile ride in September. 

The original reason to do this ride was actually the purely socialy aspect of a few of the guys from work going out together for a bit of team building, and in the process, helping out with a good cause, but after seeing Len put in such a magnificent effort, I realy am motivated to make a good showing of this, and actually try and get a reasonable amount of cash raised!

Now, I am not to bad riding 'off road' - that typically involves relatively short intense periods of maximum effort, followed by periods of hanging on for grim death whilst trying to navigate the safest route down a difficult track at high speed - allowing time for the muscles and heart rate to recover.  There is very little in between, most trails don't have 'Flat' or 'Gentle inclines', you also have big soft tyres and suspension to take some of the punishment away from your 'undercarriage'

On the other hand, riding on the road - as I was told by several people, and have since discovered for myself, is a very different proposition...  Much more constant peddling, not so much strain on the heart and lungs, but a heck of a lot more strain of the legs and back.  No suspension, rock hard narrow tyres, so it can get quite uncomfortable quite quickly.  I am also struggling to work out how to 'take it easy' - I do keep going off waaaaaaaaay to quick!

So, on Friday morning, I took my 'road bike' - technically more a hybrid / modified mountain bike and set off to Himley, the 9 miles there was pretty easy, and a fair amount of downhill, so arrived in 33 minutes feeling pretty comfortable.  The 11.5 miles back some two hours later however, were almost totally flat/uphill and with 24C temperatures, pretty hard work.

So far, the longest ride I have managed in a 'single sitting' is about 11 miles, I have done that distance twice now, and on both occasions been very sore (quads and 'undercarriage'), and totally exhausted!

Some time over the next 8 weeks, I have to somehow manager to increase that distance by a factor of 5!

Wish me luck!



Hi Mark,

Great update! I'm in a similar boat, going for my first proper bike ride at the weekend in a bid to get fit for the London 52 miler. I ended up riding 25 miles (with a break in the middle) and found the going tough especially on my undercarriage! Legs weren't too bad afterwards but the idea of doing the same distance again currently doesn't fill me full of confidence.

I spoke to a friend yesterday, though, who assured me that it does get easier the more you train. However he did recommend investing in a decent saddle and pair of padded cycling shorts!

Good luck with the rest of your training and your fundraising efforts too.